You’ve been cheated on. Now what? You can’t think, can’t eat, can’t can’t can’t. You just can’t. That’s okay, take a deep breath, and read. Meanwhile, I can’t even begin to describe the feeling that washes over you after you’ve just uncovered your spouse’s affair. It feels like your heart stops beating, your vision grows cloudier, and you feel like falling to the floor. Down you go, into the rabbit hole. For days, weeks, or months you’re going to feel nothing but betrayal, anger, and sadness. Nothing is real, you think. Nothing is real because everything I thought I knew wasn’t as it should have been. Now what? Now, my darling, you process your thoughts, and try to understand what the hell just happened. I can promise you that it does get better. Better may not be what you expect, but after all is said and done, you’ve learned a powerful lesson.
I’m not going to lie to you: you’re going to remember this period of time as a dark period in your life. You will sweat, cry and work so hard to banish the negative thoughts from the garden in your head; and years down the road you may not remember much besides the pain you felt after you’ve uncovered it all. I directed this post at the victim, the hurt person. She (or he) that has had the Comfort Rug pulled out from under them and are now falling through the abyss of feelings much like Alice’s fall into Wonderland. Except the rabbit hole won’t take you to Wonderland at all; more like Horrorland, Miseryville, Rock-Bottom Land on Despair Isle.
Can you relate?
I could almost physically feel myself falling into this hole of loneliness, isolation and despair. This is the last thing I ever expected to happen to me; this is the last person I’d expect this from. I’ve come to describe it as an out-of-body experience. It’s like you’re watching a very sad movie, and this has been my life for the last few months.
Your head is going to be so underwater that you’ll forget the simplest things and you’ll swear you’ve lost your mind. I ran myself a bath with cold water because I forgot, for the first time ever, to turn on the hot water. You’re going to feel like your life has lost it’s luster; you’re living in black and white. You no longer enjoy the things that once lit your pretty eyes up, you’ll care about nothing. That cold water bath that I accidentally ran, I got in it anyway, because I just didn’t care anymore. I was on autopilot.
For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse.
This is not your destruction.
This is your birth.” — Unknown
The first step in healing is understanding.
This whole post so far has been about how you feel, what about them? Understanding why they did it, what they felt. There is a triangle of players that make up this dangerous game: You, him, and her. You know exactly who I’m talking about, although your genders and situations may differ, there are at least three players. I’ve been in all three positions at some point in my 25 years, and can offer a unique perspective into our situation. Yes, our situation. Rock-Bottom Land on Despair Isle, population 2. Did you really think you were alone? We’re in this together, pal. Let’s talk about the other players in this game.
Her, the affair person, the outsider
This person will often see the spouse (you) as the lucky one. He/She knows they’re being used for something; be it love, attention, or sex. They may develop feelings for your partner, but knowing that they go home to you will sting. Don’t see this person as Enemy #1, they’re hurting too. Holding onto hope that something will become of this risky relationship when it won’t is incredibly trying in itself.
Your partner may feel disconnected from you. You’re not taking them seriously, you’re not treating them well enough. They feel lost in their unhappiness, even feeling cornered and are looking for something to dull their pain. They may say things like, “This is your fault! You drove me to do this!” While your circumstances may differ, many cheating partners often have no intention of hurting or leaving their spouse. This person is looking to fill a void, too cowardly to address their issues to you. It’s easier for them to take care of it themselves. They’re moving through this with tunnel vision, only seeing themselves and their own happiness. They look to an outsider for comfort, this person may be disposable to them in the end but there are moments that they swear they love this stranger. Instead, they love the way they made them feel. Someone in the cheater’s throne has told me, “I should have communicated my issues with her before taking matters into my own hands and hurting everybody, including myself. I felt lucky to be given a second chance. I begged for it. There’s nothing I wouldn’t have done to save my relationship.”
What was it that caused the disconnect? There had to have been space between you that left enough room for a Player 3.
Nobody wins in this situation. Everybody hurts somehow. Game over.
Someday you will look back and know exactly why it had to happen. – Unknown.
After understanding how and why this happened, I was able to look at the bigger picture with a much clearer outlook.
- you don’t have to make a decision now, soon, or at all
- you don’t owe it to anybody to forgive
- don’t feel bad about saying “no” and moving on with your life
- this isn’t your fault
- don’t allow them to blame you for this
- this is not your fault
- THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
- DON’T punish yourself for any of this.
- your future is in your hands and yours alone.
Do you feel like you can forgive? I admit, I forgave far too quickly. Forgiveness came before I had a chance to work through what I was feeling. I rescinded my forgiveness and that’s okay. I tested the waters, and discovered they were much too cold for me to jump all the way in.
Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place. – Unknown
Fortunately, I have been able to get a grip on myself again after reading a book, called “After the Affair” by Janis A. Spring anytime I felt it try to consume me again. It really put this whole ordeal into perspective for me, please read it regardless of what player in this game you are. This is where my story and experience ends, as I’m still in emotional limbo. This is your future self reminding you to keep on moving; I promise that the emotional haze you’re feeling isn’t permanent… and with that said, please don’t make any permanent decisions you may regret.
This post has been in the works for many months. My story is still missing it’s happy ending; this is about as far as this post will take you. I still avoid questions about what happened; I still trip over my own thoughts when I see something that reminds me of it all. Three months later, I’m still healing and getting a grip on what just happened, and that’s okay.